Heartburn is a burning sensation in the chest due to stomach acid returning into the esophagus or food pipe. The burning sensation is usually felt in the upper and central area of the chest, behind the sternum or breastbone. The sensation becomes worse when lying flat or on the right side.
Symptoms of heartburn
- A burning feeling inside the throat and chest that happens after eating.
- Pain becomes worse after lying down and bending after eating
- A burning sensation in the throat. Sometimes, acid spreads up to the back of the throat and there is an acid taste or burning sensation at the back of the throat that can lead to coughing. There is difficulty swallowing for a few minutes.
- A symptom of GERD without heartburn includes chest pain upon waking up in the morning and a feeling that something is stuck at the back of the throat.
- Shortness of breath
- Avoid eating foods that cause heartburn such as sodas, caffeine, citrus fruits, onions, tomatoes and high-fat foods.
- Do not eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. Avoid lying down while there is food in the stomach to prevent the risk of developing heartburn.
- Eat foods slowly to prevent gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Wear loose fitting clothes to minimize pressure on the stomach.
- Elevate the entire head of the bed for at least 8 inches to lessen the symptoms of heartburn.
- Perform regular exercises such as taking a walk for at least 30 minutes and ride a bike.
- Stop smoking to prevent the development of other health problems that can worsen the condition.
- Maintain a healthy weight and avoid being overweight to prevent heartburn.
- Drink a glass of low fat or skim milk as a snack. The milk acts as temporary buffer that lessens the heartburn.
- Chew sugar-free gum after meals to produce more saliva in the mouth and act as an acid buffer and push acid back into the stomach. Chew a gum at least 30 minutes after every meal to lessen the symptoms.
- Sip a cup of chamomile and licorice tea after eating a meal to lessen the symptoms. It has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves the symptoms of heartburn.